What is a next GEN lens? How do we exist in the now and also look toward the future? I think it has a lot to do with looking at the patterns. History teaches us far more than we should ever forget. Societies, systems, cultures and rulers have all came and went from the dawn of history until now. Everything passes away, including us. So the question becomes how do we learn from the things that pass away? I love and appreciate the traditional “black church,” but for the sake of this writing, let’s use it as a constructive example. Speaking in generalities, many millennials on down reject the traditional idea and format, in which the black church is primarily constructed. Instead of focusing on people and the changes that have been occurring throughout time it seemingly has chose to marry itself to its culture, no matter whether that culture has passed away or not. In doing this, it becomes more of a museum for people that fondly reflect on the things of old while sternly rejecting the things of new. One could say, instead of being on the brink of innovation, as it should be, it becomes a haven for nostalgia. Meanwhile, in other areas of life things are moving, culture is shifting, new ideas are emerging, new sources of capital are found and new leaders take their place. This does not seem to be the case in some of our “black churches.” One could say that Some (arm) of this church is dying for its refusal to embrace the future changes it must make in order to connect with the people It dearly needs to populate their spaces, participate in it’s services and give to its treasury. Not leaving out the fact that younger leaders are becoming much harder to find and if you do find them the question then becomes, are they interested? Another happening to note is the fact that we have become used to using our authority to move young people, while forgetting to inspire them. This problem does not only exist in black church, however, it does make it easy to understand how a system held in stone will fade away. Nothing lasts forever so we must continue to reinvent the way we look at what it means to serve others. Cultures can be shared while the prevailing belief currently seems to be, they must collide. This need not be the case if we would only invest time in becoming more adept at understanding cultures, ideas, and constructs differing from our own. Some would say this means we have to become unnecessarily and overly sensitive to everything which is a self righteous rejection, rooted in comfort being one’s idol. (Which I know a lot about lol) Becoming informed does not mean you’ve converted it means that you are now available to engage. I thought we all agreed that the ultimate goal is to be able to engage with others in order to show the love we know is required of us. Going further, why does it seem so many people are unavailable to engage but still desperately need people in order to continue. The oxymoron becomes, they cancel themselves out because of their unwillingness to do what they said they wanted to do. From there, it all becomes tribal. We’re only around those that we identify with, and we serve them and their networks. We’re not interested in those that are different from us so we become distant. It all looks like too much work. My personal belief is those that recognize this and make adjustments will have far greater influence than those that don’t. In the era in which we currently live, where platforms are constantly vying for attention, influence is key especially for those that are called to impact people in someway or another. Emotional intelligence must be up or going up while personal biases gone or going down. Don’t get me wrong we all have them, but which way are you trending? Are you ready to participate in the changing world from a social perspective? Not necessarily meaning becoming an activist of any kind but can you be in on the conversation? Are you called to give to it or to only take away from it? In what ways are you unprepared to engage with your own legacy? In what ways do we refuse to engage different? How do we keep up with the changing landscape without compromising ourselves? Does having to change our thoughts on nonessential items make us feel like we are compromising? My answer to that in complete honesty is that working together almost always consists of compromising the nonessentials to move the entity forward. If your vision, passion or dream is going to exist in the future, then now is the time to ask yourself. Do I have a next Generation Lense? The answer could be no, and if it is, that’s fine. Do yourself a favor, ask questions, get informed. Whatever you do, DO NOT stay on your side of the fence and become a museum.